The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

October 5, 2012

Smokers need not apply, hospital says

Altoona Regional Healthy System will test job applicants for nicotine

ALTOONA — A Blair County hospital system is banning tobacco, and says it won’t hire tobacco users, starting Jan. 1.

The Altoona Regional Health System rules will require applicants to be screened for nicotine. Those who fail can reapply after 90 days.

Despite the ban, hospital officials say they won’t require new workers to abstain from tobacco once they’re hired, though it will be encouraged.

People who already work for the hospital can use tobacco when they’re not at work, but will also be offered programs to help them quit using tobacco.

The Altoona Mirror reports Friday that the ban extends to vehicles parked in hospital lots and means workers who wish to take smoke breaks will have to clock out and leave the hospital property to do so.

Visitors could be kicked off the property for repeated violations.

The Tribune-Democrat reported last month that Johnstown's Conemaugh Health System will ban all employees from tobacco use during their shifts, whether they are on company grounds or not.

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